>From NASCAR Public Relations
For Immediate Release:
Pete Graham and his NASCAR Winston West Series race team know how to overcome problems. They have prevailed this year despite many obstacles that have come their way. This is the first year the 34 year old El Cerrito, Calif. driver has competed on the full schedule for the NASCAR Winston West series. It's also a year in which Graham and his team have already encountered plenty of problems for one season. "We've had our fair share of bad luck this year," Graham admitted. "Every race it seems there's been something come up." But the team has been determined not to let adversity get them down, he said. With a career best 7th place team finish in his most recent race, Graham is hoping this year's bad luck is all behind them. "Our performance this year has actually been pretty good," Graham stressed. "Fortunately, at Denver our potential finally started to show. I really hope this is the turning point in the season." Graham and his team will try to keep their momentum going when the NASCAR Winston West Series travels to Madera (Calif) Speedway for the Racestuff 250 on August 10. Despite problems this year, Graham has worked his way up to ninth in the NWWS championship standings and hopes to build on that with a good finish at Madera. While some teams might be discouraged by bad breaks, Graham says his group has actually been strengthened by their resolve to overcome the problems. "The team's really come through it well. It's really been fantastic," Graham said. At a time when some teams might start having internal squabbles, his team is coming together, Graham said. "Everybody is working triple hard, working longer hours trying to get things figured out," he said. Graham says it has been important not to let the bad luck that has come their way impede their progress as a team. "I've been around the Winston West series for about ten years now. I've seen what's happened to us this year. It's difficult, but it's not unique," he said. "We're not the only team this has ever happened to." This season is the first of a long term goal Graham and his team mapped out last winter. "Basically, in the off season we put ourselves on a three year plan," he explained. "This year our focus was to pick up our competitive level. We really sat down as a team and plotted our performance goals." Their meeting included some new members who joined the team. "Some of the personnel we've added to this team have really complimented the people we had on the team already. I really consider them a top 10 team," said Graham, although he admitted that their qualifying is not always reflective of that. The team usually focuses more on a suspension setup for the race rather than the time trials, he said. While Graham is still searching for a major sponsor for his team, two associate sponsors have provided crucial support this year, he said. Airport Auto Broker, a long time sponsor and "integral part" of the team, stepped up to make sure the team makes every race, Graham stressed. PowerBar also came on board in support of the team, he said. As part of their stepped up effort this year, Graham purchased another race car before the season began. Then late last month he made a change in the horsepower department switching to MADCAP Racing Engines. "We're real excited about this. It takes care of the weak link in our program," Graham said of the new engine program. "We're picking it up a little bit and trying to go to the next level. And with our next two years, we have further goals." Graham started his racing efforts in a mini-stock in 1985. He raced a touring division of four cylinder cars, finishing as high as second in the points standings in 1990. He worked on a NASCAR Winston West Series team in his spare time, meanwhile, and eventually decided he wanted to make a change. He bought his first big stock car in 1993. "I knew Winston West was where I wanted to be," Graham said. Despite his rough start this year, he's moving ahead with those plans.